|Title: Les Misérables|
|Director: Tom Hooper|
|Elements: June Rebellion (the Paris Uprising of 1832)|
|Actors: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen|
I was invited by ilovebooks.com to attend the Les Misérables movie premiere, and it. was. fantastic. I haven't watched any of the plays or read the novel (neither the original French version nor the English translation, which you can get here), so I can't compare the movie adaptation. What is evident is that the movie itself is spectacular, with breathtaking sets, choreography and performances by all the actors. It's a three hour long, truly cinematic experience that's worth repeating.
Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption—a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever.
Hugh Jackman carried the movie in his role as the haunted, hunted Jean Valjean, his looks and character being stark differences from the Wolverine that comes to mind whenever I think of him. It's odd to think of him as Amanda Seyfried's father, but it works in the movie. Kudos to the make-up department.
Russell Crowe was brilliantly cast as Inspector Javert. His gruff singing fit the portrayal of the dogged inspector that spends his life searching for Jackman's Jean Valjean, and I loved how their characters thrusted and parried through the film.
It would be remiss of me not to mention Anne Hathaway's turn as the tragically short-lived Fantine. She was phenomenal in a short selection of increasingly heartbreaking scenes. Her performance of I Dream A Dream may not be as majestic as Lea Salonga's version, but I loved it simply because it fit the movie and the scene so well.
Despite playing the character that propelled the second act of the movie, Amanda Seyfried tended to be overshadowed by the rest of the cast. Her scenes with Eddie Redmayne lacked chemistry, even yet more disappointingly, in their duets. Their voices seemed mismatched, and I expected more because I love her as an actress, and especially given her great performance in Mamma Mia.
Among the supporting cast, Samantha Barks had a breakout performance as the lively Éponine. She stole every scene she was in, and had a great performance to support the some of the best lines and songs in the movie.
The editing leaves little to be desired--the sharp cuts between scenes means non-stop action and singing, which means the audience barely gets a breather before the next scene commenced. While it left me in breathless wonder, with no need to wait in anticipation of plot movement, it can get tiring at three hours long.
/le sigh. Just typing this post has made me want to catch another screening of Les Misérables. Just a truly magnificent movie.
You can catch a screening at Shaw or Cathay Cineplexes from 25 December. Once again, major thanks to ilovebooks.com for extending the invitation to me; it's a life-changing experience. No lie.
ETA: Here's a great interview with the main cast.